Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3230: Trumping the Mainstream: Populism and Democratic Politics

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 30 ECTS Value 15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks) and term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Lise Herman (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


A paradox lies at the heart of the populist discourse. References to "The People" have paved the long road to democracy in the West, and still act today as a reminder of the centrality of popular sovereignty to representative government. Yet populism is also inherently at odds with the pluralist ethos that structures liberal democracy, and when in power threatens democratic institutions at their core. This module combines the insights of contemporary populism studies and the history of political thought to help you understand this paradox. It will provide you with a historical perspective on the relationship between populism and democracy, and offer you tools to understand the causes and consequences of populist success in the West in past decades. This module will encourage your active engagement in group work and class discussion, including formal debates and simulations. 

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